Champlain Area Trails (CATS) are mostly in the central Champlain Valley towns of Essex, Westport, and Willsboro. We continually expand the trail network and will eventually connect to other Champlain Valley communities and to trails in surrounding areas (the Adirondack Mountains, Clinton County, Quebec, Vermont, and the Hudson Valley).
We encourage you to help create and maintain trails by participating in our trail projects--the trail projects are fun and rewarding--see our Events page to read about our upcoming trail projects and hikes. We send out email notices for upcoming projects--to be included fille out the form on the Join our email list page.We invite you to become a "trail adopter"; Yes, you, your friends, and family can take responsibility for keeping a trail attractive and safe for the people who will hike there. To become a trail adopter, send us an email or fill out the form on the contact page. We hope you enjoy the Champlain Area Trails.
Below is a brief description of all the trails in the central Champlain Valley--some are ours and others are owned and managed by other organizations including the State of New York; we are going to add maps and more detailed descriptions and even reviews as we go forward.
Note: We are still writing descriptions for some of the trails - if you want to write a description please an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trail Maps are available as noted below. Please check back for new map postings.
Have fun, stay on trails and use caution especially crossing streams.
* Cook Road is closed to cars in winter but open for hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing.
Bald Peak Trail (8 mi RT, moderate) Trailhead 1.3 mi south of New Russia on west side of Rt 9. Trail starts flat, crosses a stream, climbs steadily through forest and then follows the stream. After a mile, it turns left, crosses stream again and climbs steeply to overlooks and summit with stunning views.
Beaver Flow Trail (3 mi RT or 3 mi loop, easy) North trailhead on south side of Cook Rd* about 200 yds west of Leaning Rd. Hike through forest, cross a stream and climb to more level land. Continue straight past junction with Homestead Trail* (on right) and go toward Walker Rd. When approaching south trailhead on Walker Rd, choose East Route or West Route toward Bobcat Trail. The East Route (left) goes to the forested entrance and the West Route (right) goes to the meadow entrance of Bobcat Trail. Download Map Here.
*Homestead Trail provides a return route which goes through forest, across a stream to an old road and moderate incline back to Cook Rd*. Go right on road to trailhead.
Belfry Mt Trail (.8 mi RT, easy) Trailhead on Dalton Hill Rd, 3 mi south of Lincoln Pond, 1 mi north of Witherbee. Short, easy hike to a fire tower with views of Lake Champlain and High Peaks. There is great information on the Belfry Mountain Trail on the CNY Hiking Website. Download Direction Map Here. Download Trail Map Here.
Big Woods Trail (2 mi loop, easy) Two trailheads behind the old school on Library St for the flat upland trail; and at the Willsboro boat launch to the Boquet River at end of Gilliland Lane for the river trail which features an unusual floodplain forest that can be overgrown in summer with stinging nettles and ferns. Download Map Here.
Black Kettle Nature Trail (2 mi loop, easy) Trailhead on Cook Rd, next to Black Kettle Farm barn. Trail crosses a stream, enters forest, passes an overlook, has a short, steep descent to a forest stream (be careful), crosses the stream, continues through forest to a wetland, crosses the stream again and returns through an old pasture. Read a beautiful description of the trail HERE. Download Map Here.
Blueberry Hill (.25 - 1.5 mi trails, easy to moderate) Thirty short trails through mixed forest with two summits and many views. Trailhead on east side of Lords Rd, .25 mi off 9N or drive up Bronson Rd (off Roscoe Rd) to reach multiple trailheads. Two main trailheads have display cases with maps. These town-owned trails are multi-use.
Download Map Here.
Bobcat Trail (2 mi RT, easy) Two trailheads on Walker Rd about 1.25 mi west of Rt 22. The Forest Route goes through old Christmas tree farm and then regular forest and the Meadow Route is in an old field. The two routes meet and go through woods, passing many beaver ponds on relatively easy terrain making for a good ski. The south trailhead starts at end of Ferris Rd. Download Map Here.
Boquet Mountain Trail (4 mi RT, easy/moderate) North trailhead on Jersey St (Cty Rt 12) 1.5 mi west of Boquet River. Trail goes up to the saddle between N. and S. Boquet Mts, traverses east side of S. Boquet Mt and continues on an old logging road to south trailhead on Cook Rd* about .75 mi west of Leaning Rd. Download Map Here.
Brookfield Headwaters Trail - Trail under development - trailhead on Reynolds Rd just west of cemetery. Check CATS website for updates.
Champlain Bridge (1 mi RT, easy, handicapped accessible) Features a walkway and great views.
Cheney Mt Trail (1.5 mi RT, moderate) Trailhead on south side of Pelfershire Rd 1.4 mi west of Rt 22/9N. Walk around the fenced gate and hike up a logging road. Trail narrows on climb to summit. At the top you will pass a number of small wetlands. There are three viewpoints: north up the lake, west toward the High Peaks, and south to Lake Champlain and Champlain Bridge. There is great information on the Cheney Mountain Trail on the CNY Hiking Website. Download Map Here. Read more about this exciting new trail in Adirondack Explorer and the Plattsburgh Press Republican.
Coon Mt Trails (2 mi RT, moderate) Trailhead on Halds Rd .75 mi west of Lakeshore Rd. The Summit Trail follows an old logging road, goes uphill, climbs a steep stairstep of stones, levels off along the base of a cliff, goes over boulders and around the shoulder of the mountain to the summit. Fabulous views of the valley, High Peaks and Lake Champlain. The Hidden Valley Trail (left fork) goes through a diverse forest at base of the mountain. It meets the Summit Trail to circle back or go to the summit. Beautiful spring wildflower display.
Crown Point State Historic Site (.8 mi RT, easy) Explore a fascinating old fort. Cross the road to see Lake Champlain Visitors Center and an obelisk featuring a Rodin sculpture.
Field & Forest Trail Trail to connect Wadhams and Whallonsburg under development. Check CATS website for updates. Phinney Farm Trail section closed.
Footbridge Park Trail (.25 loop, easy) Trailhead at end of Footbridge Ln in Elizabethtown. A short, scenic walk with sites for children to learn about wildlife. Download Map Here.
Hidden Quarry Trail (0.8 mi loop, easy) Trailhead on east side of Rt 22 about 4.5 miles south of downtown Westport and 5.5 miles north of Port Henry. Park in little grassy area and follow the trail along the edge of a field, into an attractive little forest. The forest trail loops around an old field, emerges from the woods and goes along the edge of the field. It turns right, continuing through the field and over a small seasonally wet area. The trail comes to a powerline right-of-way, turns right and enters another forest where it passes by some large cement structures associated with the old quarry. It goes by the pond, up a small hill to cliffs overlooking the quarry. The trail then comes back out into the field and returns to the parking area. Read about this trail in The Valley News. Download Topo Map Here. Download Satellite Map Here.
Homestead Trail (2.5 mi RT, easy) Trailhead on Cook Rd*, .75 mi west of Leaning Rd (across from Boquet Mt Trails south trailhead). Trail follows an old road on a gentle downhill slope through forest. After about a mile, trail turns left off the old road, crosses a stream and soon meets the Beaver Flow Trail. Follow Beaver Flow Trail south (right) toward Walker Rd or north (left) back to Cook Rd.* Go left on the road to trailhead. Download Map Here. Please note; this trail will be closed from September 28 through December 15 for hunting season.
Lee Park Trail (.75 mi RT, easy) Trailhead in Westport at Lee Park at bottom of Mill St on Lake Champlain. From the playground, go uphill along Hoisington Brook. Take footbridge over little waterfall, go through tunnel under Main St, continue upstream, cross bridge for a scenic walk along stream.
McAuliffe Road Trail (2 mi RT, easy) South trailhead on Jersey St just past Boquet River; North trailhead go south on McAuliffe Rd to gate. Trail is an old town road open for public use which goes through forest paralleling the Boquet River.
Mt Gilligan Trail (3 mi RT, moderate) Turn east on Scriver Rd off Rt 9 south of New Russia; park in a dirt lot. Walk over bridge, go right, trailhead is on left before the house. Trail starts flat, takes a right up a steep, rocky slope, and climbs steeply to the ridge. Beautiful views of Dix Range and Bald Peak.
Noblewood Park Trail (2 mi RT, easy) Trailhead on Rt 22, 3 mi north of Essex. Trail provides access to Lake Champlain, a swimming beach and a scenic river delta. Fee to park inside gate.
Phinney Farm Trail Closed until further notice.
Poke-o-Moonshine (4 mi RT, moderate/difficult) Two trailheads on Rt 9. The first, .5 mi south of I-87, is the older, steeper trail with an overlook along the way. The second, 1.5 mi south of I-87, is an easier, longer uphill hike which flattens briefly by a small wetland before joining the other trail and climbing to the summit featuring a fire tower and panoramic views. Download Map Here.
Rattlesnake Mt Trail (3 mi RT, moderate) Trailhead on Rt 22, about 4 mi south of I-87 Exit 33 and 4 mi north of Willsboro. There is no sign, just a pull-off on east side of road across from Long Pond Cabins. Trail is a logging road for .5 mi, then turns onto a foot trail that climbs up to the summit with spectacular views of Lake Champlain.
Download Map 1 Here; Download Map 2 Here.
Rocky Ledges Trail (2 mi loop, easy/moderate) Trailhead on Leaning Rd 150 yards south of Jersey St (Cty Rd 12). A relatively easy trail through forest, below a 30-foot cliff, and up a rocky ravine. It splits into the following two trails:
- Mountain Route, the right fork, has a moderately steep climb along the mountains south side, meets an old woods road and connects to Boquet Mt Trail. Turn left, walk about 500 yds to the Foothill Route. Turn left and return to trailhead. Or continue on Boquet Mt Trail to Cook Rd*.
- Foothill Route, the left fork, is relatively level and climbs a little to meet Boquet Mt Trail. Turn right, walk about 500 yds to the Mountain Route. Turn right and return to trailhead. In the Fall, the leaves on the descent can be slippery.
Split Rock Wild Forest Trails (2 - 6 mi loops, easy to moderate) Trailhead on Lakeshore Rd 5.8 mi south of Essex and 4.7 mi north of Westport. A series of trails through NYs largest protected forest on Lake Champlain. Trails go up, over, and along this mountain overlooking Lake Champlain with wetlands, little waterfalls, an old quarry, hidden bays, and stunning views. Download Map Here.
Webb Royce Swamp Overlook Trail (.3 mi RT, easy) Trailhead on Clark Rd .75 mi from Lakeshore Rd. This short, flat gravel-paved new trail will have an observation deck for watching birds and wildlife.
Wildway Overlook Trail (1.5 mi RT, moderate) Trailhead on Brookfield Rd .25 mi south of Reynolds Rd. A relatively easy uphill climb to a fabulous view of the Champlain Valley and Split Rock Wildway (the wildlife corridor connecting Lake Champlain to Adirondack Mts). Download Map Here.
Willsboro Recreation Park Trail Trail under development - trailhead on Rt 22, just west of Noblewood Park. Opening expected Sept 2012.
Woods & Swale Trail (1.5 mi RT, easy) South trailhead at fork of Lakeshore Rd and Sherman Rd. Trail travels up and down through old forest, then through a pine plantation, skirts by the wet swale, and traverses side of hill to north trailhead on Sherman Road. Return on the trail or road.